Press Release
November 11, 2021

Tolentino wants climate change initiatives in budget

Dismayed by the miniscule allocation for climate change in the 2022 national budget, Senator Francis "Tol" Tolentino said the next year's General Appropriations Act (GAA) should include climate change initiatives that will help fulfill the country's international commitments.

During the Senate deliberation on the 2022 budget, Finance Committee chairman Sen. Sonny Angara said the GAA has earmarked a substantial amount for climate change expenditures of departments such as Agrarian Reform, Agriculture, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources, Foreign Affairs and Health.

"The Philippines plans to lead climate change response and mitigation but its budget is miniscule," said Tolentino, saying the amount cannot support the commitments, made by Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez at the COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.

"The climate change summit will end tomorrow (Nov 12) and there will be commitments and signing activities that would implicate not just promissory initiatives on the part of the Philippine government but real tangible commitments, such as the budgetary making process," he added.

Tolentino, chairperson of the Committee on Local Governments, reminded concerned government officials that international commitments, once ratified by the Senate, would form part of the laws of the land.

"I endeavor the career members of the Cabinet economic cluster to take that in mind as you move along even though this is a swan song, that there will be commitment to have a net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050," Tolentino said.

The senator said notable contributions coming from the Philippine government would have to be made, especially when it comes to cutting methane emissions by 30 percent by this decade and halting deforestation.

Once this budget is approved, Tolentino said it would be up to the different line agencies to implement the international commitments entered into by the Philippines, including during COP26.

Tolentino also called on Angara to intervene and ask the Department of Budget and Management to include in its circulars on implementation of the Mandanas ruling climate change initiatives by the local government units on the ground.

Angara agreed, saying "They have made it part of their local budget memorandum for LGUs because under the Climate Change Act, they are mandated to come up with local climate change action plan."

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